Diamond Hill aka Donkerhoek

Boer General Louis Botha probably wrote in his diary…11th of June 1900…it’s a week after the fall of Pretoria…bitterly cold Monday morning…we are hidden in the hills at Donkerhoek…ready for battle…

Britain’s Lord Roberts  probably wrote in his diary…11th of June 1900… it’s a week after we advanced into Pretoria…bitterly cold Monday  morning…we are approaching the plateau of Diamond Hill…ready for battle…

Me, writing in my diary…11th of June 2011… 30 kilometers from my house…bitterly cold morning…sitting in the Diamond Hill/Donkerhoek garden of Remembrance…the brutality of war…

Two different names, same battle.

Over the 2 days, heavy fighting occupied both commanding officer’s minds, at the largest military engagement in the history of Pretoria, this during the Anglo-Boer War.

This was the last attempt by the Boers to defeat the British by conventional means. On the Tuesday night, Louis Botha decided to end the battle, to evacuate his 7 thousand men and retreat undefeated, thus robbing Roberts and his 14 thousand men of any claim to a victory.

The few Boer casualties might have been buried at the site or on nearby farms, all I am left with are some of the 128 British dead, as well as the remains from other nearby battlefields, brought here in 1961/2.

The loss of life saddens me…alone on a desolate hill, I pause at the grave of the Earl of Airlie. Lieutenant Colonel 12th Royal Lancers. “ Who was, as he had always desired, killed in action at the head of his regiment. “ 11 June 1900. He was 44 years old.

As I am driving home, I am reminded of the profound words of General William Sherman :  “I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine… War is hell. “


About tshwanetourist

freelance journalist, accidental tourist, avid sports fan, Mercedes Sosa convert
This entry was posted in Culture, History, Journal, Local, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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